The Cambodian cooking class is another version of the Peruvian cooking experience I enjoyed last year in Puno. Considering the kitchen is one of my favorite spots of the house, I didn’t hesitate to sign up and join in!
When you arrive, you’re greeted with a smile and a tuk tuk waiting to whisk the group off to the local market to collect the ingredients for our menu of the day. If you’d like to see the market in more detail check out the last post, “Food is meant for sharing and every human deserves to eat”.
Our kitchen? A rooftop terrace with an open view, several working stations and a lounge area. (Yes, I’m taking in notes for when I grow up and have a kitchen of my own).
Ingredients set, aprons on and it’s time to start. Generally how the class flows is by the instructor telling us what the next step is and why its necessary. We then either pitch in to complete it or in some cases, have to do it on our own for a single dish. First up, spring rolls with authentic dressing! Creating this tasty snack included a lot of shredding, massaging, squeezing, pinching and rolling… Almost sounds like a day at the spa.
We hand rolled each one before sliding it into the hot oil. While our appetizer was taking a blistering bath, we all pitched in to make the homemade sweet and sour dipping sauce.
Time to enjoy!
Next up we have a dish that I’ve been patiently waiting to try as its popular here in Cambodia and right up my alley! Fresh fish and herbs steamed in a banana leaf, sign me up!
Now, when I mention that we prepped the herbs from scratch, I mean we took these beautiful raw ingredients and pounded them in a traditional molcajete for at least 15 minutes. I will say it was neat watching them transform into a powdery paste.
Once our garden had been pulverized into a powder, we combined coconut milk, salt, sugar and local spices to the fish. Chili pepper to taste and now we have the base for fish Amok!
Hmmm, what will we ever pour this sweet fusion of flavors into? A banana boat of course! Heat the leaf, stack, bend, pin and viola… A bowl! Carefully pour in your saucy goodness and place it in the steamer.
What do we do for the next 20 minutes? Get to know a little more about the fellow chefs! Joining me around the table we have Australia, England, Germany, Switzerland, a couple from Lake Tahoe (an hour from my home town).
The fish is cooked thoroughly in our little bowl-o-banana leaf and now it’s time to eat!
For recipes and more information, please check out their website at www.cambodia-cooking-class.com.